Last Best Hope of Earth

A Blog Covering US History and Politics


Mexican-American War

The Fight for California

John Fremont. Photograph: Mathew Brady. Engraving: J.C. Bottre.

President James Polk, prior to the beginning of the Mexican-American War, had an idea for how to gain new territory for America. He was not going to limit the acquisitions solely to what could be gained with Mexico through military conflict south of Texas. He had his eyes on California and New Mexico, and he had a plan for how to get those two territories.

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The Deadliest War in American History

Winfield Scott. By: Robert Walter Weir.

President James Polk, at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, was concerned about the ramifications of a significant, drawn-out conflict. He was aware that a Whig military hero could emerge, just as William Henry Harrison had. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 750.

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Rehearsal for the Civil War

Depiction of the Mexican-American War. Artist Unknown.

Some historians have classified the Mexican-American War as a rehearsal for the Civil War, which would erupt approximately 15 years later.

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Dissent Between Two Presidents

James Buchanan.

Leading up to President James Polk’s May 13, 1846 announcement of the Mexican-American War, tension arose between President Polk and the Secretary of State, James Buchanan.

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The Reception of the Mexican-American War

Garrett Davis. By: Mathew Brady.

Following President James Polk’s announcement of war with Mexico, and Congress’ declaration of war, those in the Whig Party and those around the country had significantly different views of the war.

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Negotiating with Mexico

Congressman John Slidell. By: Mathew Brady.

In the fall of 1845, prior to the Mexican-American War, President James Polk attempted to use what he perceived as leverage to negotiate with the Mexican government to expand American borders.

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The Start of the Mexican-American War

War News From Mexico. By: Richard Caton Woodville.

On the evening of April 24, 1846, Captain Seth Thornton and 68 American dragoons “went to confirm intelligence that a Mexican military force had crossed the Rio Grande” just miles away from where Brigadier General Zachary Taylor was camped. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 731.

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